A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this thorough, fun sports site has some interactive features. Only some of the message boards are monitored (administrators can edit or delete any posts in their forums) and iffy words are replaced with asterisks. (At the time of the review the registration for the forums was turned off and only previous registered users could post and view messages.) One red flag: The site suggests users looking to carpool to one of its clinics post a message on the message board asking for a ride. The site also features a lot of ads, and its store has product reviews of things like watches and sports DVDs with links to buy them.
What's it about?
For seven years, Girls Learn to Ride has sponsored girls-only action sports clinics and camps in the U.S. and Canada; GIRLSLEARNTORIDE.com is the group's online magazine, designed to inform and excite girls of all ages about sports like skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. In addition to event listings, the site has daily sports news, athlete profiles, forums, contests, and more. Readers also can submit articles on topics like fitness or local places to do the sports.
Is it any good?
Most of the content on GirlsLearntoRide.com is upbeat and self-empowering. The articles tackle subjects such as defending yourself against stress and focusing on being healthy instead of thin, and the news is updated frequently enough to provide an overview of what's going on in the sports world. However, the site also features a fair amount of product plugs. Some of the stuff in its store is promotional -- such as buttons with the Girls Learn to Ride logo. But the site features a lot of ads, and has product reviews of things like watches and sports DVDs, complete with links to buy them. It's too bad this you-go-girl-themed site doesn't just stick with what they do well -- celebrating sports -- instead of offering so much stuff for sale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why you wouldn't want to accept a ride -- even if it's to a safe event -- from someone you met online. Why is this smart even if they say they're around your age and seem to be legit? How can you safely arrange to get to sports competitions or other events? Families can also go over what's OK to post in online forums and what's better left unsaid.